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New cause of diabetes identified

Comme cause of diabetes is a deficiency of insulin-producing cells in endocrine tissue of pancreas

Date:
February 18, 2016
Source:
Center for iPS Cell Research and Application - Kyoto University
Summary:
Although insulin-producing cells are found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas, a new mouse study suggests that abnormalities in the exocrine tissue could cause cell non-autonomous effects that promotes diabetes-like symptoms. These findings argue the existence of an unknown factor from the exocrine tissue that promotes proper endocrine development and suggest new therapeutic strategy for pancreas-related diseases.
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In normal mice (top), the pancreas forms with normal spatial organization as seen by the distinct patterning of different colored cell types. In Pdx1 mutant mice (bottom), however, the pancreas is much smaller and loses its spatial organization. Scale bars = 50 micro meter.
Credit: Kawaguchi Laboratory, CiRA, Kyoto University

Diabetes describes a disease where the body is not receiving a sufficient supply of insulin. It commonly inflicts the pancreas, the organ responsible for insulin production. More specifically, it inflicts the cells that produce insulin, which are found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas. However, new results from the Yoshiya Kawaguchi lab suggest the exocrine tissue, which is responsible for digestion, could have a role in treatment. "The pancreas is constituted of two tissues that are structurally and functionally distinct, which makes it unique," says Prof. Yoshiya Kawaguchi of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, which is why most researchers attend the endocrine tissue for diabetes.

However, while the exocrine and endocrine tissues operate independently in mature pancreas, they are formed at the same time during pancreas development. Kawaguchi wondered if diseased exocrine tissue could cause deficiencies in the production of endocrine cells. To investigate this possibility, his team constructed mice that depleted the Pdx1 gene, which in the pancreas is exclusively found in exocrine tissue. The result was underdeveloped pancreas, but in addition, and surprisingly, the mice showed diabetes phenotype, such as low insulin levels, suggesting endocrine development was also affected. However, what caught the researchers' attention was which cells had changed. Endocrine progenitor cells that did not have the mutation in the mutant mice also showed poor survival. These results suggest non-cell autonomous effects, which describes the phenomenon where cells with genetic defects may cause malfunction in neighboring, genetically healthy cells, and could have important implications for diabetes treatment.

"This is an exciting finding," explains Kawaguchi, adding, "It means the exocrine cells secrete something that promotes the differentiation and survival of endocrine cells during development." This substance, Kawaguchi hopes, could lead to promising treatments for diabetes.


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Materials provided by Center for iPS Cell Research and Application - Kyoto University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sota Kodama, Yasuhiro Nakano, Koji Hirata, Kenichiro Furuyama, Masashi Horiguchi, Takeshi Kuhara, Toshihiko Masui, Michiya Kawaguchi, Maureen Gannon, Christopher V. E. Wright, Shinji Uemoto, Yoshiya Kawaguchi. Diabetes Caused by Elastase-Cre-Mediated Pdx1 Inactivation in Mice. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 21211 DOI: 10.1038/srep21211

Cite This Page:

Center for iPS Cell Research and Application - Kyoto University. "New cause of diabetes identified: Comme cause of diabetes is a deficiency of insulin-producing cells in endocrine tissue of pancreas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218060723.htm>.
Center for iPS Cell Research and Application - Kyoto University. (2016, February 18). New cause of diabetes identified: Comme cause of diabetes is a deficiency of insulin-producing cells in endocrine tissue of pancreas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218060723.htm
Center for iPS Cell Research and Application - Kyoto University. "New cause of diabetes identified: Comme cause of diabetes is a deficiency of insulin-producing cells in endocrine tissue of pancreas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218060723.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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